Memory intellectual and emotional memories. The brain recognizes rational

in Medieval Philosophy

This chapter by Jorn Muller
investigates the theories of memory developed by different philosophers. The
philosophers are known as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Avicenna, Averroes and
Albert the great developed various methods during the medieval times that
attempted to explain the concept of memory. The philosophers analyze memory
through multiple lenses to expound the different forms of memories and what
actions instigate memories (Michaelian 6). Some individuals linked memory to
their religious teachings and science to aid other people in understanding how
the mind works. On the other hand, other people combined all the lessons of
predecessors and advanced an approach to enable the society to comprehend.
However, all the theories came under massive criticism from other scholars who
argued against their plans due to lack of sufficient evidence to support their

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Augustine classified memory into
three Categories which are; sensible, intellectual and emotional memories. The
brain recognizes rational memories through the five senses and can remember the
objects at a later time (Nikulin 93). Augustine argues that the mental memories
are innate and not triggered by any external objects. He further contends that
emotional memories were digested earlier hence one can remember the state of
emotions without necessarily experiencing the event. Avicenna and Averroes
approach closely link to Aristotle’s philosophy as they project memory to be
among the internal senses. The Arabic traditions claim memories to be
‘spiritual’ (Nikulin 102). Furthermore, the memory is affected when the brain
is injured. Arabic traditions are dependent on medical teachings to explain the
approaches utilized by the scholars. However, Avicenna disputes Aristotle’s
work by claiming that imagination is the storage and not memory. Avicenna
states memory as an intention where the internal senses perceive an occurrence
and respond accordingly.

Albert the Great disputed the
other’s philosophies and stated that the memory has two distinct categories as
a natural phenomenon which relies on the external senses and the memory is also
a section of the mind that contains the moral principles that guide one in
their lifetime. He reasoned that the society should utilize the anthropological
basis and not rely on the Arabic traditions to comprehend the memory phenomenon (Nikulin 110). According to him,
Aristotle had explained the meaning of memory and also strived to differentiate
the theological and philosophical aspects that attempted to undermine his work.
Albert the Great distinguished the purpose of memory and recollection as two
distinct entities. Thomas Aquinas tends to agree with Averroes philosophy on
consciousness as internal senses but posits that the mind is associated with
the intellectual activity opposite of what Avicenna claimed (Nikulin 113). He argues that the
separated soul has mental contents that one has acquired before death.

It is during the 13th century that
there are significant debates on the ancient rhetorical customs and their
effects on early ages. Albert the Great agrees with Cicero’s teachings on the
artificial and natural memory whereby the artificial memory arises from soul
recollection of activities (Nikulin 123). Albert the Great
further denotes mind not only as rhetorical disposition but also ethical as it
assists one to make a judgment in all circumstances. Albert and Aquinas posited
that emotions played a significant role towards recollection. In conclusion,
there is still debate on the reconciliation between the epistemologies and
anthropologies about the medieval discussions of memory. Different scholars are
yet to come to terms on which theory explains the concept of memory well.